A couple days ago I awoke to an uncontrollable craving.
It was a craving so strong that my to do list had suddenly been wiped clean and replaced with only one task: Satiate My Hunger Pang. A hankering had moved into my subconscious, kicked his feet up on the couch and started hogging the television. What else was I do to but oblige.
On this particular day, all I wanted IN THE WORLD was a loaf of crusty, chewy, freshly baked bread hot, delicious and full of gluten and carbohydrates.
Sure I could skamper down to one of the dozens of bakeries within arms reach to get a loaf. Their breads might even still be a bit warm, but none of them would be mere minutes from exiting the oven.
It wasn't just about munching on the thick crust or plucking morsels of soft, steamy glutenous bread insides to devour one by one. I treasure the bread foreplay. I wanted to flour up my kitchen, oggle a shaggy dough and get my hands a bit sticky massaging the impending loaf into submission.
It would all be worth it once that golden crusty loaf came out of my oven, hot and steamy and all for ME.
While I waited for the dough to do its fermentation dance, I did nothing but daydream about burrowing a hole straight through it.
The English-style Sleepless white bread was just what I needed. It ferments slowly overnight giving it a lot of flavor and that excellent crust I keep droning on about.
Stir up flour, water, yeast and salt (yes, that's it). Knead it a bit then tuck it in before you go to bed. This sleepless loaf does its thing all night long while you are busy dreaming about smearing salted butter all over that bad boy in the morning.
Sleepless White Bread Recipe
Adapted from The Telegraph
Makes 2 loaves
2 lbs (1 kg) bread flour
3/4 tsp (2.5 g) dry yeast
4 tsp (20 g) salt
2 3/4 c (560 g) water
2 tsp olive oil
For the bread dough
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add the water. Stir to combine.
Once dough gets stiff, turn dough onto a counter. Knead for 10 to 15m until its smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball.
Coat a large bowl with the olive oil. Place the ball into the bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover bowl first loosely with plastic wrap, then with a tea towel. Set in a cool place. Let rise for 16 to 24 hours.
For the shaping and second rise
Remove dough from bowl. Cut dough in half. Shape each piece into a loaf or round, depending on your preference.
Move dough to a lightly-floured parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly dust loaves with flour. Cover with tea towel and let rest for another 2 hours.
For baking the bread
Preheat oven to 465F (240C). With a sharp knife, make several slits in the top of each loaf.
Bake bread for 25 to 30 minutes until a golden brown crust forms.